WINDSOR — A slight breeze blew as Tim Bogue, 50, lined up his chip shot Wednesday morning. The faint sound of the occasional vehicle buzzing down Windsor Road was the only noise as he struck ball after ball, lofting every one to almost the exact spot as the last.
Bogue is a longshoreman by trade, but he’s a golfer at heart. And he’s a good one.
He’s spent years arranging his work schedule, and his life, around trying to make a go of it in golf. He regularly wins money on what he calls the “mini tour.” He’s made $20,000 some years. But the big prize has always alluded him.
For years he wanted to make the PGA Tour, and he’s gone after a spot in the U.S. Open.
“I tried it, I don’t know, seven or 10 times over the last 20 years,” he said. “I made it to the sectionals four or five times but never really got close.”
Maybe it was turning 50 in April, making him eligible play on the PGA Tour of Champions, which used to be known as the Senior Tour, or maybe it was all of those hours on the driving range he built on his family’s property in Windsor. Or maybe it was that 6-foot putt at the Diablo Country Club in Danville last month.
Bogue sank his putt on the fifth hole of a sudden-death playoff and his rival at the moment, Jeff Wilson, missed a 4-footer. And with that, Bogue booked his ticket to the U.S. Senior Open Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 28- July 1.
Play well there and he’s got a chance to make the Champions Tour.
“This is the biggest that I’ve ever played in, for sure,” he said.
But that was not what he was thinking when Wilson’s putt rolled past the hole.
“I’m not celebrating at all,” he said. “I’m still perturbed for what happened on 17 and 18.”
Turns out that Bogue was rolling into the final two holes of the sectional tournament in great shape. He was 2 under. The leader, who had already played 18, finished 2 under. The two guys behind Bogue were at par. The top two players would make the cut.
But Bogue didn’t know the full story. He didn’t know that his two nearest competitors were at par. And he didn’t ask. Bogue thought that he had to be 2 under to be in the mix. So when he bogeyed 17, then did it again on 18, he thought he was done. Close but not close enough. Again.
He was kicking himself.
But it turns out that his par finish was still good enough to earn a spot in a three-man, sudden-death playoff. Still, it took him five holes to vanquish two talented veterans.
But maybe that experience will serve him when he travels to the high altitude of Colorado Springs and plays against the most talented golfers he’s ever faced. Playing well at the Senior Open could write Bogue’s ticket onto the senior tour.
“I would like to play on the Champions Tour. That is the goal,” he said.
The names on the tour are familiar: Tom Lehman, Vijay Singh and David Toms. The recent winners of the U.S. Senior Open Championship are familiar, too: Bernhard Langer, Fred Funk, Kenny Perry and Colin Montgomerie have all won it. Langer is the current tour money leader with $977,500.